On Giro’s routes

The mystical place where passion becomes Rosa

The air is thin on the slopes of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo. Clouds come and go: flashes of sun, then a few drops, then more sun. From the Auronzo hut you can hear screams echoing through the valley, occasional roars also come and you wonder what’s going on since the passage of the cyclists is still several hours away.

If you go down the route of the stage, you can notice those who are already set with tents, grills and ice-cold beers; many of them write the name of their idol on the street; some rest on the asphalt, exhausted after conquering the climb that in a few hours will feature the heroes of the Giro; others sing and toast in company. Everyone feels at home, as if they’ve always lived on the edge of that climb. If you try to ask what drives a person to follow an event that lasts three weeks like the Giro d’Italia, fighting against rain, sun and wind, the answers you’ll get will be peremptory and you can sum them up in a single sentence: “that’s how I feel alive.”

After the choice of the ideal spot, the main activity of the day begins: cheering. Anyone can ride the route until a few minutes before the start of the stage – you just need a bicycle or your own feet – and those who have already reached the spot can do nothing but support those who are still trying to finish the climb. They are men, women, boys and girls, and even children. They all want to ride the same climb as the Pros, and they all deserve encouragement.

Flags of all nationalities and many Italian localities can be seen at the roadside. Everyone has his or her own group of friends, popular songs to sing in company, designated spots, and a favorite cyclist, but that doesn’t preclude cheering on whoever is trying to make it to the top. When someone in trouble comes by, the decibels go up and the cheers become a chorus.a

As the professional runners pass by, everything is hyped up. Since the crack of dawn those on the way up are vocally cheered, but when those on the way up are the heroes of the Giro, trumpets, homemade horns, whistles, cow bells and any object that can make a helluva noise are added to the shouts. Everyone wants to lend a hand to those who are searching for the peak.

With only a few kilometers to go, the first place goal is a luxury few can afford, so for others the aspiration is just to get to the top, exactly like the fans who got on their bikes a few hours earlier. And at this moment everything becomes complete: everyone has seen the race, everyone has ridden the same climb, everyone has participated in the hours leading up to it, and everyone has screamed as all the cyclists pass by. Thousands of people crowded on the same mountainside enraptured by the spectacle offered by the cyclists and the nature around them.

When we attend a sporting event, the urge to participate is often so strong that once the event is over we lock ourselves in the gym in order to satisfy that desire. When fans watch a bicycle race, on the other hand, they actively participate just to get to the right spot. And if, as someone said, “freedom is participation,” then a mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia is an exciting moment of Freedom.

Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by Giorgio Remuzzi

Bernardo Henning’s calm chaos

Colors explosions, sports icons and Argentine DNA: welcome to the magical world of this South American artist

“Argentina is a huge country, you travel between crowded places like my city, Buenos Aires, and pristine natural scenery. Chaos and quiet alternate. Beauty and movement come together. You have to adapt in order to survive and find the right balance. These dualisms translate into my work, where the images are static but seem to move. That’s why I like to work on sports themes and subjects, because they allow me to sublimate these thoughts.”

Bernardo Henning’s creativity transcends the laws of physics, jumping between South American colors and sports icons. In the graphic works of this Argentine artist, static nature is magically turned into dynamism, unleashing the kinetic force of each photographic portrait. WNBA, Argentine Selección, Nike and Giannis Antetokounmpo are just some of the visual canvases that Bernardo’s mind has decided to animate: they’re processes that this La Plata native but Buenos Aires resident has cultivated among football logos, street art and sports passions.

I’ve always loved to draw. I remember with some classmates we used to spend hours sketching cars and recreating brand logos related to skate culture. Then I discovered art history and my mind expanded: during those years I understood that graphic design would be my path. I’ve always been skateboarding, but football is also an eternal passion of mine. As a kid I was obviously fascinated by team logos. Although I was a Boca fan, I was in love with the Lanús logo and its typographic features. These influences later turned into street art and into the production of stickers that I began to show around the city. In Buenos Aires everything is communication and I started communicating with stylized characters, not graffiti. Working in the streets allowed me to get in touch with the graphic design studio Dogma, where I started my career, and with some incredible street artists-I’m thinking for example of the London Police, Pes, and Julian, known as Chu. These artists were real stars to me; I constantly had the feeling that I was in the right place at the right time…. That was a perfect starting point.”

If graphic production is a divertissement turned profession, sport in Bernardo’s daily life is a cornerstone turned therapy. Basketball, football, tennis, rugby and futsal games punctuate this Argentine’s days, giving him aesthetic influences and mental relief. The sports element is something you can enjoy in every step of your life, Bernardo confides, telling us about the innate link between the athletic universe and design, and introducing us to an artistic philosophy painted in bright colors and iconic images.

Everything in my life revolves around sports, even my artistic philosophy. The design is there, in every jersey, in every cap connected to major American sports. The movement is there, in every action, in athletes like Facundo Campazzo, my favorite basketball player. I try to create illustrations that people can love, I use vivid and powerful colors to increase the impact of each image. Over the years I’ve learned what it means to produce something iconic. I do what I like, because I know that audiences, brands and companies can appreciate it too. When I have time and am not busy with commissioned assignments, I do things that I truly love, because I know they can be functional for my work, they can attract people. Working on the photographic element isn’t difficult, the images just call to me and I know I’ve to do something with them. I see a portrait and the final work instantly appears in my mind. Then after a short time I complete the digital collage. It’s a natural process, and is giving me the opportunity to work with various sports companies and institutions, such as the WNBA and ESPN, or the Argentine Women’s National Team. Argentina contacted me in order to produce contents related to the away kit for the upcoming World Cup. I’m proud of this work for the Selección and I’m happy, because I had the opportunity to animate a jersey inspired by our mountains and nature. Now I’m involved in another big football project, you’ll discover it in a few weeks…”

In a few years we’ll instead find out Bernardo’s destiny. One of his recent works introduces this theme, the words “The worst thing that happened to me as an artist is being a graphic designer”. Words that combine the irony and frustration of a hybrid condition, of a precarious balance, yet consolidated by market logic, rising fame, and collaborations with international fashion brands. Because graphic design has shaped the aesthetic pillars of this Argentine creative and his working career, but today the artistic dimension is overwhelmingly stealing the scene, outlining a future devoted to the purest muse.

“This sentence started as a simple note on IG and immediately elicited so many reactions among my colleagues. A few months ago I had my first solo exhibition in Madrid and decided to display it. That catchphrase starts a conversation every time because it’s shocking, ironic and realistic. I’d like to make 100 percent artistic works, but I feel like I can’t do that because of all the theoretical notions I learned with graphic design. I’m not really free. At the same time graphic design forces you to communicate something, it’s a professional necessity. Art doesn’t impose that. I find myself in the middle, and it’s a complex condition. I’ve learned that I’ve to compromise and, at the same time, stay true to my artistic vision, even in commissioned work. It’s not easy. That’s why I see my future directed toward the artistic universe. I know that there will come a point when I’ll get tired of working for brands and, above all, I will not want to repeat myself: that will be the moment when I’ll have accomplished all the collaborations I’ve always dreamed of. I’m young and I still have a lot of energy, but as an old man I imagine myself painting huge canvas in a vast, brightly lit room…. I just hope to do what will make me feel good.”

Photo Credits: Bernardo Henning
Text by Gianmarco Pacione

The Mirage

The physical, mental and visual journey of Runaway and its crew, a film shot and directed by Achille Mauri in the heart of the Death Valley

The Death Valley desert is a crossroads of mystical and material forces. Every sensation is heightened, every perception shifted, every vision becomes a mirage between Santa Monica and Las Vegas. It is the mirage created by running in one of the most hostile places on the globe, it is the mirage of 548 kilometers populated by toil and courage, it is the mirage of The Speed Project, a physical and sensory challenge open to 70 international running crews.

‘The Mirage’ is the refined short movie that Achille Mauri (featured on the cover of Athleta Magazine Issue 8) dedicated to this hot odyssey, following the contemporary, yet epic exploits of the Milanese crew Runaway. This visual project, supported by Diadora and overseen by Mental Athletic’s creative direction, translates a painful 48-hour wonder into images, a deep dance of reality punctuated by cacti, relays and irrational resistance that also involved our recent interviewee Floriano Macchione.

You can watch the full movie here. Enjoy your viewing. Enjoy your Mirage.

Imilla Skate, the board is female empowerment and ‘Chola’ identity

The Bolivian pioneer collective able to combine skateboarding and cultural revalorization, tricks and social revolution

Skateboarding can be a tool for emancipationcultural identificationhistorical reenactment and women’s empowerment. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, there is a group of girls who are achieving all these goals through their boards. They are the ImillaSkate collective; they are young women capable of blending contemporary vibesAndean rootsrevolutionism and social progress. They have long, black braids and wear ‘polleras’, the typical skirts that have colored so many Bolivians, especially from rural areas, over the past centuries. They profess clear and universal messages that send to us from the other side of the globe.

Skateboarding is for everyone, it doesn’t matter your social status, your country, the color of your skin or your gender. The important thing is to feel part of a big family, it is to speak a universal language. Skating is an art that allows us to spread essential messages. Andean culture and social inclusion are part of the themes we touch with our collective efforts. Our identity, the ‘Chola’ identity, the identity of every Bolivian woman, is at the heart of everything. We fight for women’s empowerment, in order to break down the machismo stigma. This stigma is present not only in Bolivia, but throughout South America. On our continent abuse and femicide are the order of the day, for women there is no social equity and no real freedom. We recall the aesthetics of the ‘mujeres de polleras’ because they were and are prohibited from studying at university and working in evolved environments. These women are systematically sidelined. Today more and more girls are abandoning their roots to adapt to the contemporary world because they cannot show themselves for who they are. We do the opposite and want to show that only individual qualities and abilities count, everything else is just taboos that need to be broken…”

A powerful need shines through the words of these young skaters: the need to change the future using the past as a starting point. Traditions and reforms in their daily lives follow the same rhythm of tricks and runs, becoming one folkloric form of activism. Bolivia is the unexpected epicenter for the multifaceted activities of this collective: activities that are inspiring many Bolivian girls, but also communities spread across the continent. Because the Imilla Skate project manages to be simultaneously local and international, to unite the territorial dimension with the transversal example.

Skate culture arrived in Bolivia in the early 1990s as an underground sport related to the ‘calle.’ For a long time women did not use boards. Then some pioneers popped up and, thanks to their example, we decided to create our collective. We want to be a role model for the ‘ninas’ of our country and show them that they can enjoy this urban art form. The reaction from our city has been very positive, we are succeeding in changing people’s mentality and spreading the true values of skateboarding. Skateboarding teaches that no matter how many times you fall, you can always get back up, and that will and perseverance can allow you to break down any physical and mental barrier. These are metaphors we can apply to our own lives and social struggles. So many women feel freer because of Imilla, they are more confident, in the last few years we have improved our organization and managed to get 5 girls into international events. Everything has changed since skateboarding became an Olympic sport, but in general more and more girls are getting into this sport. It’s a domino effect. We are trying to create a Latin American network of female skate communities: ArgentinaParaguay and Brazil are some of these countries. We have not yet been able to travel to these places, because we all work or study; maybe one day we will be able to do so…. For now it is essential to focus our efforts here, in Bolivia. We want to be a support not only for people who want to skate, but for whole the community. We are developing projects like a cultural center, we are involving urban artists and musicians, we are helping children who had problems during their childhoods. Skateboarding is an art, and this art must help others.

Floriano Macchione, running is multidimensional

Running is where passion, work, and individual progress meet, explains Diadora Global Running Brand Manager

Eliud Kipchoge, one of the most majestic modern-day runners, once said “Athletics is not so much about the legs. It’s about the heart and mind.” In Floriano Macchione’s running, heart and mind rhyme with pace and time, choice and evolution, athletic challenge and professional horizons. From the Navigli to the Las Vegas desert, the hills of Bologna to the performance research and development laboratories…. Running in the daily life of this Venetian athlete-manager has a multitude of dimensions: there’s the workout and competition, the free and rational stylistic expression, but first and foremost there is the dimension of the legendary Italian brand Diadora, where Floriano is currently serving as Global Running Brand Manager.

“I run a hundred kilometers per week. The afternoon becomes a nightmare if I don’t go running by lunch. It’s like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m going crazy, I don’t know how to explain it…. It’s a physical and mental necessity. I’d love to run every day in the desert, but I can’t do it. In Milan, I would run up and down the Navigli for a couple of years; on Strava I became a kind of ‘local legend’. Now I travel a lot and manage to run in other places, such as in the Prosecco Hills, near the Diadora headquarters, or in Philadelphia, where the brand has its American base. Running is fundamental for me and my work: it is a meeting point of many different factors. It’s a passion that strengthens connections inside and outside the company and helps develop human relationships and improve professional knowledge. In Diadora, I’m lucky to work side by side with Gelindo Bordin, the only Olympic champion also able to win the Boston Marathon: it is stimulating, we work together on products, test shoes and talk all the time. We also joke about my running from time to time; he often makes fun of me. For example, I ran my 10-kilometer PB a few weeks ago: 36 minutes. He told me it was a good time for grocery shopping…”

Despite his young age, Floriano Macchione can already boast to have had a rich and layered journey, a personal marathon that began in the infinite solitude of a football goal, carried on through a pioneering Master’s degree in Sport Strategy and Business, all culminating in a hybrid running scenario, divided between asphalt, unexplored territory, and a desk. In a modern brand, it is possible to be a modern athlete and a modern manager. Floriano has managed to be in the right places at the right times, first by nurturing his own sporting vision and philosophy in the colossus Nike, then becoming a crucial element for Diadora, which has repeatedly rewritten the history of the most democratic of sports.

“I started swimming in the same Venetian pool where a very young Federica Pellegrini was training. Then I switched to football, where I was a goalkeeper for many years. There I discovered the concept and value of solitude, which I translated into running. But running came later, when I was about 21 years old. It was 2010 and everyone was into jogging, that’s it. I had to disguise myself when I went out running at night. Running was considered a non-sport, a waste of time that people did to stay in shape or lose weight. When I joined Nike, the perception of this sports universe was ripe for change, and so was my own relationship with running. In the Bologna office I met former middle-distance runner Vénuste Niyongabo (the first Olympic champion in Burundi’s history) and I started running in the hills with him every lunch break. In Bologna, I competed in my first half marathon and from that moment running for me became something very different. At that time in history, the scene was evolving. When I moved to Milan it literally exploded, both in terms of the production of the technical material and the attention to other elements for its transition, like aesthetics and technology, but also in things like running clubs inside companies and running communities in the city. I simply followed that huge flow of material and digital energy and still follow it with passion and consistency.”

After his experience in Nike and the void left by the pandemic, Macchione decided to reboot, focusing on extremely grueling races. The Arctic Circle, the Petra Desert and the South African moors are just some of the tests Floriano put to his mind and body, striving to reach greater maturity, all to be poured into his future and current position in Diadora. Medals of valor to attest to rare expertise. Sports acumen that today makes this multi-faceted professional a scarce resource.

“At the beginning I had no sponsors, but I felt like I had to and wanted to do those three extreme races. They were an investment in myself and my portfolio. In order to take on certain challenges, you have to be an athlete, or better yet, an extremely meticulous and prepared human being: I believe those experiences were formative and fundamental in getting my role in Diadora. In my new job, I discovered an example of excellence in the Made in Italy trademark, a brand that combines innovation, craftsmanship, knowledge, and identity. Everything in Diadora is developed in a specific geographical part of Veneto: I think it’s a great strength, it’s something that distinguishes the brand and has fascinated me from the very first moment. I know that I get seen as someone out-of-the-box, but I’m actually very attached to my company: I believe very much in the path it has taken, and participating in this process gives me a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction. There will always be moments of frustration, but the stimuli will always prevail. Just like in running.”

Leo Colacicco, football as the origin of everything

There is no football without fashion and fashion without football, teaches the LC23 founder

‘Stipe, ca trueve,’ ‘Preserve, and you will find,’ sentences an ancient Bari proverb. And Leo Colacicco has preserved every memory, every moment experienced on and off the green field. Footballer and fan, fanatic and aesthete. The last sacred representation of our time, as Pasolini called it, in the background of the LC23 founder did not and does not represent a mere pastime. It’s something more significant, it’s a visceral relationship that today allows this brilliant designer from Bari to dress his favorite team, as well as to pour an endless carnival of goals and emotions into the brilliance of his stylistic creations.

“Football is my favorite sport ever. As a child I played in the streets of Gioia del Colle, going out in the morning and coming back in the evening. Then I kept playing and managed to play in Promozione (sixth Italian league), I did it until I was 32, when I decided to quit because of knee problems. Only two years earlier I’d founded my own brand, LC23. Despite the pace of work, football has continued and continues to be much more than a passion. I follow any league and cup, I am an AC Milan fan, but Bari has a special place in my heart. In our province, the bond with the team is all-encompassing, the fans are unique even compared to the best European supporters…. Together with my friends I’ve always attended the San Nicola stadium and participated in so many away matches, witnessing unique and indelible scenes. I was lucky enough to grow up observing football with the sensitivity of a fashion enthusiast. I came into contact with ultras culture and its stylistic features and, at the same time, I developed an incredible fascination with the teams’ jerseys, especially the training kits. It’s an ‘obsession’ that has translated into collecting: my most prized piece is the original England 1990 jersey, which Palace reworked last year. It’s simple, timeless and fantastic. In the 1990s Umbro invented a new football aesthetic, changed the Game. It’s no accident that many of those jerseys are still worn in and out of stadiums today.”

And it’s no coincidence that Colacicco’s mind was called upon by two of the most famous and legendary brands on the football scene in order to continue the celebration of the communion between football and fashion. The aforementioned Umbro and Kappa are the two showcases in which this Apulian creative has been able to display Nineties reminiscences and David Beckham vibes, but they are also the two sporting appendages of a much more complex stylistic manual, the LC23 one, capable of taking root globally, collection after collection, thanks to its uniqueness. If the collaboration with the brand of the two rhombuses has been a dreamlike journey, confides Colacicco, the one with the Turin-born brand, on the other hand, has been a path made of many joys and endless pressures. Because dressing your favorite club is a magical opportunity, sure, but it’s also the most arduous mission a fan can face.

“When I partnered with Umbro, I literally found myself inside an amusement park. It was a dream to see LC23’s logo side by side with the English brand’s logo, and it was great to be able to reinterpret or reuse their most iconic patchwork. The Bari project started almost as a joke, walking around the company’s halls I started talking about the Napoli jerseys created by Marcelo Burlon. Ironically I said, “If I don’t do it for Bari, who else can do it?” They immediately asked me for some graphic samples. I didn’t believe it, I didn’t think they would accept. The psychological pressure was enormous from the beginning, the fear of disappointing people who share your same faith is heavy, but when I saw the pattern of the polyps I knew that our project would be a success. This synergy with Kappa and Bari has given me tremendous satisfaction: on the early morning of the drop day many people were queuing in front of the LC23 store in Gioia del Colle. My town, lost in the middle of nowhere, had become the destination for many Bari fans who appreciated my jersey…. It was impossible to expect such a success, which was confirmed by the online sell-out reached within minutes. The most difficult thing was to repeat it. This year I tried to raise the level of complexity, study and interpretation of the jerseys. I am extremely satisfied, because many insiders have understood this evolution and we have received orders from many, many collectors from all over. I think these jerseys are creatures of destiny. We launched the first jersey in conjunction with the promotion from Serie C to Serie B, and it was unplanned. This year’s kit was first worn in a pale Bari-Venezia, the classic rough 0-0, broken by the goal of Bellomo, the only Bari native on the roster. After the goal, Bellomo ran under our fans and replicated Bari’s well-known ‘trenino’ (‘little train’), the same ‘trenino’ that I’ve graphically reproduced on the jersey. They were two thrilling moments.”

After having dressed Bari in Serie C and Serie B, today Leo Colacicco dreams of carrying on this intimate relationship in the Serie A, in the footballing Olympus that the “biancorossi” are finally stroking after dark times, trying to complete a dizzying aesthetic and sporting climb. This 43-year-old engineering graduate, raised by the artisanal knowledge of a mother-dressmaker and an intense path in the fashion e-commerce universe, teaches us that there is no football without style and no style without football. LC23’s founding father ends this hybrid analysis talking to us about oriental inspirations, Apulian identity and, above all, an ascent that began from scratch, planned in the fiefdom of Gioia del Colle and destined to continue thanks to a fertile creativity inexorably devoted to sports imagery.

“The LC23 project started with 8 shirts made by my mother. The first online order came after a year and a half, I still remember it. Over time I have not changed my creative process. In each collection I use what is in my head, without following trends. I try to combine in my own way the various things that inspire me. I’m definitely connected to the Japanese and Korean world, but also to mythical Italian brands like Stone Island. The sport imagery is always essential. For example, in the LC23 shop in Gioia del Colle I hung pictures of some number 23s: Materazzi, Ambrosini, LeBron, Michael Jordan and David Beckham. Beckham is an idol: he managed to combine fashion and football in a unique way, and still continues to do so. Players like ‘Alino’ Diamanti also inspire me, I’m talking about eclectic characters who manage to get out of Italy and make their mark on foreign leagues. Unlike Diamanti, LC23’s base hasn’t left Italy and Puglia, continuing to be in Gioia del Colle. We decided to stay true to our roots. Obviously it wasn’t and still isn’t an easy choice, but I lived for years in Milan and I know that my land gives less frenzy and more peace of mind. Here there is a fusion with everything we live and surrounds us. Everything is spontaneous and positive, I hope this dimension never changes.”

Photo Credits:


Text by:

The Ninth Issue

Athleta Magazine Issue 9 is a new celebration of the sports muse, its social value, its infinite narrative power, and its relationship with contemporary photography. For the first time, our print journey begins with two different covers. The first is the work of Nils Ericson, while the lens of Rich Wade decorates the second. ‘Game on’, the traditions and rites of passage of American high school football, on one side, and ‘It’s all fake, right?’, the brutal marvel of deathmatch wrestling on the other, are both gateways to this new chapter of our independent publication. Sacrifice, redemption, and resilience accompany us inside the Eastern New York Correctional Facility, where Joseph Rodriguez’s legendary camera captures an unusual yet startlingly relevant bodybuilding contest among inmates. The statuesque bodies of the ‘Forced Reps’ reportage echo an ocean away in the centuries-old, mystical ritual of Iranian wrestling, described in ‘Zurkhaneh, the House of Strength’ by Konstantin Novakovic.

Passion and athletic goals are ageless in ‘Mastering Time,’ our ode to the heroes of World Masters Athletics, and priceless in ‘Fairway Tertulia,’ Joseph Fox’s visual gallery focused on the popular and democratic golfing greens of the Madrid neighborhood of Fuencarral-El Pardo. Lucia Elen Ayari’s ‘Young, Noble Art’ takes us to the fraught suburbs of Catania, where boxing can become a tool for emancipation and hope. From scorching Sicily to freezing Wisconsin: the land of lakes allowed MT Kosobucki to discover and analyze the fascinating sport that combines wind, sails, and sub-zero racing in ‘Ice Sailors’. Finally, the editorial ‘Back in the Days’ that explores breaking, underground Milanese culture and Tommy Biagetti’s photographic flow, is the final piece of our ninth issue, the first with a double face.

Behind the Lights – Teo Giovanni Poggi

The Roman photographer who lives the outdoor world as his own home and personal philosophy

Original discrepancies surface from Teo Giovanni Poggi’s past. If it’s ironic to think that a man raised by the ‘Eternal City’ has no interest in football, it’s equally unique that one of the most inspired lenses on the contemporary outdoor scene only got a real taste of the mountains after the stroke of majority. But the human and professional journey of a creative climber capable of developing his own imagery by drawing from the most disparate scenes, inputs and muses is credible and consistent.

“My relationship with the mountain is atypical. I was born and raised in Rome, didn’t like ball sports and got into climbing, so I met what would become not only a passion but a way of life. When I moved to London, I resumed climbing and took a trip to Thailand with two friends, where I went through my first crag experience for a month. Once back in London, I decided to get the license to work on ropes and started alternating 3 months of work with 3 months of climbing around the world. Before London I had never skied, I had never seen and experienced the mountains for real, I had only imagined it…”

Fixie and great cinema, legendary photojournalists and underground fanzines: Poggi’s whirlwind artistic evolution, which began with an analog camera found at home, over time took the form of notions and sensibility, took the direction of visual storytelling, of the inspired need to document places through sensations and human beings through gestures and perceptions. The production of this young master of composition today turns out to be a philosophical current in its own right, devoted to the exploration of detail and to the analysis of the natural soul, used as a vector to define the universality of the present.

“My visual reference points have always been those I like to call ‘real photographers.’ I am talking for example about Gianni Berengo Gardin and his ability to observe life and reality, or Franco Fontana, who often shapes this reality. Internationally, I love the work of photographers like Alec Soth, as well as Daniel Shea and his ability to evoke small stories through single images. Both have a clear and defined identity that I admire. In London I was a courier and loved a cycling subculture that means family to me. Couriers are ‘urban artists’ with a definite creative process made of lines and flow, where the body and instinct become essential. That scene introduced me to the production of fanzines, which became my gateway to commissioned photography. When I returned to Milan, however, I was fortunate to be an assistant to Leonardo Scotti, who taught me so much and became a dear friend. The idea of conveying emotions came to me from cinema, the power of moving images and literature. Directors like Gus Van Sant and writers like Jorge Luis Borges teach attention to human and natural details, symbolism, and the concepts of ineffability and destiny. After all, anything can be a vector of emotion, even a line on a wall….”

It’s precisely here, in what Poggi defines as the intimate interconnection between each element, that lurks a layered, yet spontaneously brilliant artistic vision. Between clear metaphors and distant echoes, the visual flow of this itinerant lens succeeds in shaping undefined times and meanings, destined for individual interpretation but traceable to collective ideals. Environmental sustainability, social progress and human diversity are just some of the themes that Poggi’s work manages to channel and express.

“I like to think that my photography can have a social value. From my point of view, there is no nature separate from society and the world. We are all nature. We can understand this by observing its patterns and its ways of survival and coexistence: the dynamics of our ecosystem exist from the beginning of everything, within this natural chain everything can affect everything. I think it’s useful to reflect on this issue, and I believe that nature can provide an endless array of symbols and metaphors. Whenever I can I escape from Milan and retreat to the Central Alps, where after a few hours I sense a switch in my state of mind. Woods and mountains inspire me, but at the same time the city allows me to explore a wonderful density of human beings, a fertile melting pot, where each person has his or her own story. And all these stories and personalities incredibly manage to coexist. This is why the city is a huge creature that never ceases to attract me: the manifestation of human diversity, as well as natural diversity, triggers existential questions and, in some cases, provides meaningful answers.”

Another kind of answer to Teo Giovanni Poggi’s artistic rise is the market’s reaction: Gramicci, The North Face, Satisfy, and ROA are some of the brands that have lately called upon the conceptual perspective of this Roman talent.His balance of technical awareness and sheer beauty is now synonymous with unmistakable campaigns, but also with revenge: the revenge of a Capitoline teenager who used to be teased for his hiking shoes and who today, thanks to his artistic vein and sporting skills, is succeeding in frescoing a new aesthetic cosmos and structuring a life devoted to freedom.

“I was the only one who wore Salomon’s in high school, which is why it makes me smile now that so many outdoor brands have become ‘cool’… Back in the day I was teased about my shoes, and I remember the same happening with the Boy Scouts and their connection to nature. This transition pleases me, the new outdoor perception is a payback, but at the same time it makes me reflect on the process of commodification and dispossession that is taking place. The same process that has involved skate culture in the past. It’s crucial to make it clear what is true and what is not. Now I would like to continue planning trips that are both personal research and commissioned projects, sharing this time and these adventures with the people closest to me. Together with my dear friend Alex Webb (another famous face of contemporary outdoor photography ed.) we dream of the great walls and adventures of mythical mountaineering.”

Photo Credits:

Teo Giovanni Poggi

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